Making changes in national law to protect victim/survivors of domestic violence!

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ISSUES

Needing to Sign the VAWA Petition — Goal 1,000,000 signers!!


Disappointing Outcome — Yesterday’s Congressional Embarrasments Explained

Yesterday’s Congressional Embarrassments, Explained

By: David Dayen Thursday May 17, 2012 12:40 pm

US Capitol (photo by Truthout.org/flickr)

Let’s recap one of the more pathetic days in a pathetic Congressional session.

In the House, voting concluded on the GOP version of the Violence Against Women Act, a real marker into the rightward shift of that party. On previous occasions with GOP control of Congress, VAWA was reauthorized without incident. This time around, however, while the Senate passed a reauthorization with bipartisan support, 31 Republicans still voted against it. And in the House, the Republicans deleted key measures that would weaken the status quo of the law, eliminating protections for Native Americans, LGBT couples and undocumented immigrants. This drew a veto threat from the White House, and enough negative criticism that the House GOP, with a “manager’s amendment,” pretended to “fix” the bill. The revealing data point here is that hundreds of women’s groups objected to the House version of the bill, but a misogynistic group called the National Coalition for Men endorsed it. Even Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski wrote to House Republicans to implore them to just pass the Senate version of the bill, to no avail.

The bill narrowly passed, with 22 Republicans opposing it. Unbelievably, six Democrats voted for the bill, some to avoid the stigma of “voting against the Violence Against Women Act,” I presume. (Nevada Senate hopeful Shelley Berkley was one of them; the others were ConservaDems John Barrow, David Boren, Jim Matheson, Mike McIntyre and Collin Peterson.)

Over in the Senate, the entire day was taken up by a series of votes on budget measures, none of which had any chance of passing. The Democratic position is that last year’s debt limit deal effectively locked in place the spending targets you would see in a budget resolution, meaning there’s no need to pass one right now. But Republicans forced the issue to embarrass the opposition. And while they succeeded in getting a 0-99 vote for what they called the “President’s budget,” Republicans also voted in large majorities on two occasions for budgets by Paul Ryan and Pat Toomey, which not only end Medicare as we know it and make a number of other unpopular cuts to social programs, but which also allow student loan interest rates to double, after Senate Republicans said specifically they wanted to avoid that outcome.

The budget votes were largely a Republican effort to embarrass President Obama and Democrats for failing to coalesce around a long-term fiscal vision. But it also presented an opportunity for Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) to needle the GOP on a contradiction.

“Does this budget permit the interest rates on student loans to double on July 1?” Harkin asked of the Ryan budget, which has already passed the House.

“It does,” Conrad replied.

“Thank you, senator,” Harkin said.

So there you have it; ideological crusades, unproductive vote-a-ramas, massive contradictions – there’s your 2011-2012 Congress.

Today should be a bit better; the Senate will probably confirm two nominees to vacancies at the Federal Reserve after having rejected other nominees for these positions previously.

via Firedoglake.

via Firedoglake.

via Firedoglake.


ACTION ALERT * VAWA

***ACTION ALERT***

Crew –

I realize I usually send you information regarding the Texas legislative process and so you may be surprised to see an email and an action alert from me especially because the Texas legislature will not be in session until January 2013. This email relates to important efforts TCFV and our partners have taken on at the federal level.

For the past year, Congress has been working on the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). VAWA is a coordinated civil and criminal legal and direct services approach that has worked for over almost two decades. In 2011 alone, Texas received $8.8 million in grants that help communities all over the state take violence against women seriously. I myself served as a VAWA-funded prosecutor and so saw the direct impact to our efforts at keeping vicitms safe and holding offenders accountable.

Bottom line: VAWA represents the federal government’s robust, comprehensive and successful approach to addressing intimate partner violence, sexual assault and stalking.

The Congressional authorization of VAWA must be renewed from time to time and in fact the authorization for the past cycle expired almost two years ago. TCFV has been participating and monitoring the progress of Reauthorization, including getting into the details of the various bills and offering direct feedback to national partners and the Texas elected delegation. Whereas in the previous two cycles of VAWA Reauthorization the bill drew no opposition, this time around Congress has not come to consensus as easily.

The good news is that the Senate has already passed S.1925; this bill represents the most thoroughly vetted and bipartisan approach to Reauthorization. TCFV supports S.1925 and asks that you do so as well. If you would like to appraise the bill yourself, you can find the full text at http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/s1925. The bill passed the Senate by a margin on 68-31.

The House has also taken up the measure with its HR 4970. Although the House version contains significant components of S.1925, it also omits and incorporates different provisions that will harm victims and their service provision. Among several areas of concern are the significant erosion of protection for immigrant victims of violence and the increase of bureaucracy and resulting expense that would come from direct victim services funding. If you are interested, here is the entire bill –http://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20120514/BILLS-112-HR4970RH.pdf.

Two important steps in the process most likely will occur this week. First, the powerful House Rules Committee will determine this Tuesday how the debate will occur when the overall House votes on the bill. The Rules Committee will decide whether members will be allowed to offer changes to the bill and even whether debate on the bill can occur on the House floor. TCFV calls for the inclusion of amendments that protect vulnerable immigrant victims and others, a debate of the bill on the House floor and allowing the introduction of amendments during the debate.

Second, the bill will go to the full House for a vote. In preparation for that vote, TCFV calls on Texas House members to support changes to HR4970 that conform with S.1925 to the greatest extent possible.

In service of these goals, TCFV continues to work with our Congressional partners to offer solutions regarding the provisions. This is where you can help.

We have drafted the attached letter that you can use to communicate your support for S.1925 and the needed changes to HR 4970; Texas family violence programs, their boards and community partners will be particularly impactful, but contacts from others will also help. Because time is of the essence, we ask that you make contact today and do so by email rather than a traditional letter. TCFV makes careful and strategic decisions about how often and in what manner to call on programs and supporters to make this kind of outreach. We ask for you to do so because we judge this stage and this approach to be key in the VAWA Reauthorization process.

Do you know who represents you in Congress? Find out at http://www.house.gov/representatives/.

In addition to your elected members, also consider including:
-Chairman Lamar Smith, who leads the Judiciary Committee (http://lamarsmith.house.gov/)
-Congressman Pete Sessions, who serves on the Rules Committee (http://sessions.house.gov/)

I have also attached a fact sheet which highlights some key areas of HR 4970 that we ask the House to change.

After the House completes it work on VAWA Reauthorization, the Senate and the House would then need to convene a Conference Committee comprised of Senate and House members to work out the differences between the two versions of the bill. Following that conference committee work, the resulting bill would then return to both chambers for their ratification. These will also be important steps and as such TCFV will communicate with you in a strategic manner and at strategic points along the way.

Questions? I am happy to speak with you on VAWA or any topic. See below for my card with my cell number.

Cheers –

Aaron


Call to Action for April 30th – Funds for domestic violence program

Received in my emails today.  Reposted for your information and help too: 

 

 

Action Alert: Victims of Domestic Violence Need Your Help Now!

 

Hi all,

 

DC is heading into the most important days of its budget deliberations and we need your help to make sure there's enough money to help victims of domestic violence in the budget!

 

The Mayor's FY13 Budget Proposal does not include enough money for the Office of Victim Services (OVS) to be able to fund vital victim services including emergency shelter, legal services, counseling, and crisis intervention services.  

 

  • To simply maintain the existing level of services, an additional $2.1 million is needed.  But that only preserves the status quo, which includes harmful cuts to domestic violence shelters and other supportive services.  
  • To reverse these previous cuts, OVS needs an additional $2.6 million, money that is included in the Mayor's budget "wish list" should the City see additional revenue later in the year.  

 

Please take action to help us get the DC Council to give OVS the money they need to be able to help all victims!

 

Call Councilmember Mendelson (            202.724.8064      ) & Chairman Brown (            202.724.8032      ) on Monday, April 30th at 11am and tell them: 

 

"Please appropriate an additional $2.1 million to the Office of Victim Services to provide lifesaving services for victims of domestic violence.  Please also keep $2.6 million for OVS in 5th place on the Mayor's budget wish list - this will help us reverse harmful cuts made to victim services over the last few years."

 


 
Stay Tuned -Victims Will Need Your Help Again Next Tuesday & Wednesday!

Please watch this space for additional action alerts to come early next week.  We need to flood the Council's office with phone calls, emails and tweets to make sure our voices are heard!

Thanks for taking action to ensure all victims have access to needed lifesaving services!

Sincerely,

The Policy Department

(more…)


My DV Story – My Voice

The story of my past experiences with domestic violence and how I have moved forward throughout the years to provide advocacy to others.


Texas Youth Commission To Observe National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

TYC To Observe National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

Contact:

Jim Hurley, Director of Public Affairs

(512) 424-6016/ jim.hurley@tyc.state.tx.us

Tim Savoy, Communication Director

(512) 424-6005/ tim.savoy@tyc.state.tx.us

April 24, 2009

The Texas Youth Commission (TYC) will join with other local, state and national organizations in observance of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week from April 26 to May 2, 2009. During this week, TYC youth will participate in events designed to help young offenders understand the effect of their crimes on their victims, their victims’ families, and their communities.

TYC’s CoNEXTions rehabilitation program, the core treatment program for every TYC youth, requires young offenders to understand the consequences of their actions from the perspective of their victims. While CoNEXTions is a year-round program, National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is an opportunity to focus on the victims of crime, and for TYC youth to hear victims’ stories firsthand.

A number of TYC youth will meet face-to-face with crime victims. Youth at Giddings State School, Crockett State School, Corsicana Residential Treatment Center and McFadden Ranch in Roanoke will participate in victim impact panels, where they will meet the victims and surviving family members of violent crime. These panels provide crime victims the opportunity to describe their losses to young offenders and explain the continuing impact crime has on their lives. TYC’s McLennan County State Juvenile Correctional Facility in Mart will sponsor a shoe drive and display a pair of shoes for each victim of the TYC youth at the facility. The shoes will then be donated to a family abuse center in Waco, benefiting victims of abuse and crime.

Additional events occurring throughout all TYC facilities include flower planting in victim gardens, tree plantings, weeklong empathy lessons, and prose and poetry competitions in which youth must put themselves in their victim’s place and express how the crime has affected them.

“We realize that for each youth in our care, there are many victims of their actions,” said TYC Executive Commissioner Cherie Townsend. “Bringing this realization to the youth is an important step in their rehabilitation, and National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is the perfect opportunity to help our youth develop empathy for their victims.”

This year, National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Victims of Crime Act, the landmark legislation that made a national commitment to victims of crime.

via TYC To Observe National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

via Texas Youth Commission To Observe National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.


Free Technology and Stalking Resources | Texas District & County Attorneys Association

Free technology and ­stalking resources

The Use of Technology to Stalk Online Course is a new resource produced by the Stalking Resource Center of the National Center for Victims of Crime with funding from the Office for Victims of Crime at the U.S. Department of Justice. The purpose of this self-paced, interactive online training is to increase the ability of criminal justice professionals and victim service providers to recognize how stalkers use technology and, ultimately, enhance their ability to work with victims of stalking. The course begins with an introduction to the concept of stalking and then moves on to share how technology is used to stalk. Each technology module includes information on documenting evidence and investigation and considerations for victim safety. The course concludes with a discussion on how stalking affects victims and resources for additional information and assistance. Visit www .tech2stalk.com for more information and to register.

��� The Use of Technology to Stalk training video and discussion guide is another free resource produced by the Stalking Resource Center of the National Center for Victims of Crime with funding from the U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime. This 15-minute video is designed to enhance awareness among professionals working with stalking victims and offenders of how stalkers use a vast array of technologies today. The video provides an overview of the most common forms of technology used by stalkers, victim testimony, and commentary from professionals on considerations for working with victims. The short format of the training video makes it ideal for situations in which time for training is short, such as law enforcement roll-call trainings or victim advocate training. To request a free copy, please visit the Stalking Resource Center website at www .ncvc.org/src.

via Crime Victims’ Rights Week 2012 | Texas District & County Attorneys Association.

via Free Technology and Stalking Resources | Texas District & County Attorneys Association.


Scale of abuse against women revealed – Health News – Health & Families – The Independent

The number of women and children across Britain being forced out of their homes by violent relationships is revealed for the first time today, raising fresh fears about the impact of council funding cuts on local refuges.

Almost 19,000 women aged between 15 and 88 sought state help to find emergency housing in 2008-09, showing the previously hidden scale of domestic-violence “migrants” forced out of their homes. Sixty per cent, or 11,300 victims, found shelter at a women’s refuge – many of which are overstretched and facing unprecedented cuts.

A separate study, also being presented today, reveals for the first time the true level of cuts to frontline services for domestic-violence victims. Two-fifths of organisations working with victims of sexual and domestic abuse have laid off staff in the last 12 months, while 28 per cent have cut essential services such as outreach and children’s workers to keep refuge beds open.

Yvette Cooper, the Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, said: “The Government’s approach to domestic-violence services is irresponsible and ultimately dangerous.

“Ministers need to commission an urgent audit to assess the impact on women’s safety. And they need to explain urgently how they will ensure that women whose safety is at risk will still get the help they need.” The migration analysis, carried out by researchers at London Metropolitan University, used data from the Government’s own Supporting People programme to build up the first picture of where victims of domestic violence go.

The study, which will be presented at the British Sociological Association’s annual conference today, found that more then 9,000 women took children with them as they escaped, with 190 mothers fleeing with five children in tow. One in 10 suffered from an addiction, mental-health problem or learning disability; a third came from an ethnic minority. The average distance travelled was 20 miles in search of safety and housing support.

The research provides an insight into how far and why women are forced to migrate within the UK. The database captured all women seeking formal help in England after being forced to leave their home, highlighting which local authorities do not have adequate provisions. The Supporting People programme, for which funding was ring-fenced between 2003 and 2010, was fully devolved to councils last year. Janet Bowstead, a PhD research student at London Met’s child and woman abuse studies unit, said: “Many of the women have tried to use the law to stay put and get rid of their violent partner, but it hasn’t worked – they are forced into these journeys because of their perpetrators.”

Last month, The Independent revealed that funding from local authorities for domestic and sexual-abuse organisations fell by 31 per cent from £7.8m in 2010-11 to £5.4m in the last financial year. Yet on average 230 women a day are turned away from refuges and despite under-reporting, police receive a call about domestic violence every minute.

The second study, by the University of Worcester, gathered evidence from 37 organisations across the UK. The scaling back of services and job cuts were common, with worries also raised over the ability of volunteers to take on the necessary child protection and safeguarding responsibilities.

Ruth Jones, a researcher, said: “The Big Society agenda isn’t going to work. Most organisations are already run with some volunteers, but they are underpinned by paid professional staff. Without them, the services will not stay viable which means ultimately victims unable to leave potentially life-threatening situations.”

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “We have ring-fenced nearly £40m of stable funding up to 2015 for specialist local domestic and sexual-violence support services and made it clear that [these] services shouldn’t be an easy target for local authority budget cuts.”

Case study: ‘Things will only get worse as the cuts take hold’

One woman, who spoke to ‘The Independent’ on condition of anonymity, set up a support group after failing to find adequate help dealing with her own history of abuse. She said that further scaling back of services could only make it more difficult for other victims to find a way out.

“If there is no support being offered, then people will stay in abusive relationships; they may not have the confidence to try to find it by themselves,” she said.

“It is possible for people to come forward and replace lost services but the best qualification you can have is personal experience. Someone who has no idea what these people have been through cannot handle a group of their own. There needs to be more money put up by the Government.

“The situation is only getting worse as the cuts take hold. Centres are scaling back services because they don’t have the money for them any more.

“I didn’t have much support, so I can only comment from bad experiences. But other people have had support from different groups and they have seen it as a great help. But there is not enough awareness of the issue; and it is not just women who suffer.”

via Scale of abuse against women revealed – Health News – Health & Families – The Independent.

via Scale of abuse against women revealed – Health News – Health & Families – The Independent.


48Hrs Expose: Forced Marriages and Honor Killings, a global issue

Tonight, they did a great expose about cultural beliefs, differences of moral beliefs, consequences not adhering to one’s original cultural and moral beliefs, and honor killings that may result in light of what cultural you are from.

After viewing the show tonight, I posted a comment in hopes of reaching Javsinder Sangher, founder of the Karma Nivarna program in Great Britain, designed to help those who are being forced in marriages and/or being threatened to be killed by honor killings.

 

The comment states:

Extra: Helping victims of honor-based violence
by txbluebonnet2006 April 7, 2012 11:25 PM EDT
As a domestic violence advocate, I would love to get to talk to Jasvinder Sanghera more. I know that this is indeed a strong culture thing among these cultures, but it would seem that, no matter if one perceives that their family isn’t complying to their own morals, culture – even when in a different country that doesn’t adhere necessarily to the same ideas, morals as upheld in the family’s own culture/beliefs, that killing is killing and should be held to the same standards universally. It is one thing to punish the child, but to kill them seems inhumane to say the least.

It is shocking that that the U.N. recognizes that over 5,000 girls are murdered due to honor — and, not much more has been done about it.

I host a radio show on BlogTalkRadio called Beyond Words Live! (http://blogtalkradio.com/oralhistory), maintain Domestic Violence Voices on (http://facebook.com/domesticviolencevoices), partner on the National Domestic Violence Survivor Law Project (https://www.dvsurvivorlaw.com), and on the board to Survive2Thrive Foundation (http://survive2thrivefoundation.org) to help me get the messages out and more awareness of all domestic violence issues (which forced marriages indeed fall upon that realm). I would love to get an opportunity to talk more to Jasvinder Sanghera about her organization for victims of forced marriages and honor-based violence in Great Britain.

Please have Jasvinder Sanghera contact me as soon as possible so that I can help her to spread more awareness about this issue.

I sincerely believe in that more needs to be done. As an advocate, I am probably more aware about the issues than most people; however, it is so true that more people need to be informed about this horrible event that is occurring globally and in our United States of America as well.

No matter the beliefs, it is no reason to commit harm to another individual, especially one’s own child. How can a parent even think about harming one’s own child? Where do you stand on your beliefs?

As in the case that j48 hrs focused upon tonight (which happened in Peoria, Arizona), do you feel that the father killed his daughter in a premeditated manner – or not?

Love to hear more from you….

 

Additional information about tonight’s story on 48hrs:

 

http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/48hours/main3410.shtml?tag=hdr;cnav

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7404578n&tag=cbsnewsLeadStoriesArea.0

http://www.cbsnews.com/2300-18559_162-10011754.html?tag=cbsnewsLeadStoriesArea.0

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7404306n&tag=cbsnewsLeadStoriesArea.0

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7404312n&tag=cbsnewsLeadStoriesArea.0

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7404314n&tag=cbsnewsLeadStoriesArea.0

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18559_162-57409965/resources-honor-based-violence/?tag=cbsnewsLeadStoriesArea.0

AHA Foundation

 

Amnesty International

 

Karma Nirvana

 

Tahirih Justice Center

 

UN Women: United National Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women

 

Women Thrive Worldwide


Joyful Heart Bringing About Change to NY’s DNA Sexual Assault Laws

The use of DNA technology has revolutionized the criminal justice system in the United States. It has meant that perpetrators are held accountable for their crimes, survivors receive the justice they deserve and thousands more are spared the trauma and pain of sexual violence.

Studies show that individuals who commit serious crimes, like rape, are generally serial offenders who have also been convicted of lower-level misdemeanors. A single DNA sample often matches to multiple cold cases when entered into the New York DNA Databank. In fact, since New York began collecting DNA samples for some misdemeanor convictions in 2006, offender profiles from shoplifting and criminal trespass convictions alone have matched to 332 sexual assault cases.

And yet, current law limits the collection of DNA samples for entry into the Databank to offenders convicted of penal law felonies and only certain misdemeanors. As a result, the Databank captures offender profiles for only 46% of crimes in the state penal law.

It is now time for New York to use DNA to its fullest potential.

Please join Mariska, the Joyful Heart Foundation and a broad-based coalition of advocates, including the Downstate Coalition for Crime Victims, in supporting efforts to expand the New York DNA Databank. Send a message to your New York State representatives today, encouraging them to pass a bill that will bring healing and justice to survivors, hold violent offenders accountable, solve and prevent crimes and avoid wrongful conviction.

Click here to send your message.

Visit www.dnastopscrime.com to learn more about expanding New York State’s DNA Databank.


Educating Children to be Safe…

I have ran across this article about an author’s book to help educating children to be safe. What do you think?Friend Manual: A Voice for Children

Do you believe that this is an effective way to communicate to your children how to be safe? Is it too much information, too little, or just right?

Would you include more?

Would you create a law that requires more education to be done with our children, and at what age would you make that law for? At birth on up? 1 and up? 2 and up? 3 and up? 4 and up? 5 and up? etc.

Do you know at what ages your children are taught about safety in your schools?

What age have you taught your children how to be safe and/or what to do when danger is present?

Would love your insights, opinions, and more. :) )


First of several domestic violence-related bills passes Maine Legislature (reposted)

First of several domestic violence-related bills passes Maine Legislature

By Alex Barber, BDN Staff
Posted April 01, 2012, at 8:16 p.m.
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Paul LePage

Pat Wellenbach | AP
Paul LePage

AUGUSTA, Maine — The first of several bills introduced in the past few months aimed at curbing domestic violence in the state passed in the senate on Thursday and will be on Gov. Paul LePage’s desk for his signature this week.

LD 1841, the governor’s bill that was sponsored by Rep. Kenneth Fredette, R-Newport, is an act to ensure funding for the Victims’ Compensation Fund.

“These domestic violence bills highlight what can be accomplished for the people of Maine when Republicans and Democrats — legislators and advocates alike — come together,” said Adrienne Bennett, press secretary to Gov. LePage. “The governor applauds the efforts of Representatives [Emily] Cain, [D-Orono], and Fredette for their leadership. All of the domestic violence-related bills this session are important for the safety and well-being of victims and the governor looks forward to signing each one.”

The bill prohibits a court from waiving the $25 assessment on a person convicted of murder or a Class A, B or C crime and $10 on a person convicted of a Class D or E crime. Those assessments are used for the Victims’ Compensation Fund.

“Tragedies stemming from domestic violence are becoming more prevalent in Maine,” said Sen. Garrett Mason, R-Lisbon, in a statement. “[Thursday] we took a good step forward in making sure that the Victims’ Compensation Fund is preserved and available to the victims and family members of violent crime.”

In addition to LD 1841, other bills related to domestic violence have passed through the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee in recent months.

The bills came largely in response to the murder of Amy Lake and her two children, Coty and Monica, by her estranged husband last year.

Lake and her two children were murdered by Steven Lake on June 13, 2011, in Dexter. Steven previously had been charged with criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon and domestic violence criminal threatening against his wife.

Mason, who is the chair of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, said he is proud to have worked on so many bills regarding domestic violence.

“I think we did some good work this year,” Mason told the Bangor Daily News on Friday. “The members of the committee worked really, really hard to make sure this was something we were all really comfortable with and we could get behind to the best of our ability.”

LD 1704, which would have amended Maine’s bail code to protect domestic violence victims, sponsored by Fredette, was killed because another of the governor’s bills, LD 1867, was very similar, said Mason.

LD 1867, sponsored by Cain, calls for bail of a person charged with a crime involving domestic violence be set by a judge and not a bail commissioner. It also requires a judge to deny bail in certain circumstances.

“Bail is a very important fundamental right in our judicial system. We take it very seriously,” said Mason. “Domestic violence is a very serious thing and we have to make sure justice is handed out properly.”

LD 1760 requires notification to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking when defendants are released on bail.

“When someone is released out on bail when accused of domestic violence, sometimes they get bailed within hours [of the crime]. When they do get out, it’s usually not a good thing for that person to return home and to return in the situation they were,” said Mason. “We need to make sure the [victim] knew that person was out on bail.”

Of those bills, only LD 1841 has passed through the House and Senate.

“Everything’s been voted out of committee. Not everything has made it downstairs yet,” said Mason.


Memo from the Coalition of Women Prisoners about and in support of the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act (A.7874-A/S.5436)

We received this recently to add to our blog site about this law being presented in the Courts. What is particularly interesting to note, besides the attempt to have alternative sentencing for (verified) victims of domestic violence to be considered who have committed crimes against the abuser, it also denotes specifically psychological abuse as well, which seems to be left out of many legislation about domestic violence oftentimes.

Let us know your thoughts on the DV Survivors Justice Act.

P.S.
(You may need to double click on the link below to see the actual memo sent to us.) Thanks!

DV SJA CWP Spt Memo 5-24-11 FINAL


The Law, Race and Gender unit takes on the "unconstitutionality" of the Traditional Courts Bill

Reblogged from FeministsSA.com:

While we, here in the United States, have trouble ensuring that the rural America is as well educated on the current trends of the laws 100% of the time, albeit that has been changing with technology, in Africa, they are further challenged by the rural communities are still operating under 1927 law that did not allow women to represent themselves in the governmental process. There has been a curiosity of a debate in the United States about the current update of VAWA 2012; can you imagine if women weren't even allowed to have their voices represented -- especially, if in the rural communities? It would be wonderful to have the global, international communities to be on the same page of being able to give all women internationally voices to be heard so that women are not harmed, no matter what part of the world they are in -- and, no matter if they are in the city or rural communities? Wouldn't it be a blessing to see that one day that we could have an iVAWA (International Violence Against Women Act) introduced one day? This will only be possible, if the women's voices all over are clearly represented in the courts and legislative processes throughout the world. Just a thought to consider....while viewing this article and video.

Violence Against Women in the Military

Reblogged from Wider Opportunities for Women Blog:

Women who are working hard to keep our country safe are being victimized at alarming rates. The Department of Defense estimated that 19,000 service members were raped or assaulted in 2009. Furthermore, the Pentagon detailed a 58.5 percent increase in reported sexual assaults at service academies in 2011. While we commend the brave women who are taking a stand in military schools and the active ranks, too few are coming forward: according to the DOD only 13.5 percent of assaults were reported.

Read more… 330 more words

Thanks, Malore Dusenbery, for sharing this post. One of the issues of domestic violence in the military has been focused upon the men coming back from their tours and committing domestic violence upon their loved ones that they have returned home to (allegedly due to the PTSDs that they are suffering, but not adequately being treated for when they return home). Not so well known is the women in the military also suffering harm from sexual assaults while on tours as well. I know that there is a need for the military to help maintain world peace; however, at what cost to our own people? and, the victim of war also include the numbers of thousands of people dying while providing service to our country. Looks like we're going to have to pay attention to the progress of HR 3435 being presented in the US House. Please help to keep us posted on the progress from time to time, if you will.

Stalking IS a C-R-I-M-E!

Reblogged from Anny Jacoby, Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Specialist, Personal Safety Consultant & Instructor:

Click to visit the original post
  • Click to visit the original post

STALKING IS A CRIME!

“He Was Really Scary…I Had a Stalker”

Me and my mom were volunteering to set up for a dance at a country club. We’d already volunteered a few times, but this time we met a few other volunteers there. There was a woman and her son. So her son kept coming up to me and asking me questions about how to set up the tables and where they kept the food we were supposed to put out, so basically all of the questions the guy who owned the place had already answered.

Read more… 1,351 more words

Thanks, Anny, for sharing that survivor story and the well-written article. Unfortunately, too many folks go through similar stalking situations and, like domestic violence, knows no special age, race, education, etc. boundaries. It can happen to anyone indeed. Love your suggestions of what to do if you find yourself in that situation. Working upon National DV Survivor Law Project in helping to make things safer for victims and survivors on a national level. Keep me posted on this topic!

Stalkers and Their Victims

Reblogged from The Just Call Me Charley Blog:

This article on stalking is authored by Paul E. Mullen, M.B.B.S., D.Sc., and Michele Pathý, M.B.B.S. | April 1, 2001.

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Stalking” is defined as repeated and persistent unwanted communications and/or approaches that produce fear in the victim.

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This statement: "California passed the first anti-stalking statute in 1990, followed shortly by the rest of the United States as well as Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and now some European countries. It was only after stalking became a specific form of offensive behavior that behavioral scientists and health care professionals began to systematically study stalkers and, equally important, the impact of their conduct on the victims." is disturbing that it took passing of laws to finally really buckle down and perform studies on the stalking behavior. You wrote this article back in 2011. I don't see anything done after that point in time. Are you still researching this topic? Do you have any more current information from your research on this topic? Thanks!

Author's Comment on "Police: Five Found Dead in Maryland Home" - US news - Crime & Courts - msnbc.com

Reblogged from The Just Call Me Charley Blog:

Author’s Comment:

I used to live in this town with my ex-husband and four children. My ex, a domestic violence felon in possession of nine counts of illegal guns and ammunition was “set free” by Sheriff Chuck Jenkins without so much of a warrant or indictment. Upon confiscating the weapons on April 22, 2011 after eight months of my initial complaint, I was informed that no warrant was obtained; that the guns were retrieved by the sheriff’s “ATF liason”; that NO report would be filed; that no charges were pressed; and that Sheriff does not intend to pursue the matter any further.

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Thank you for sharing the story about the domestic violence killing in Maryland, as well as your own comment. I am currently working with a project called National Domestic Violence Survivor Law Project (https://www.dvsurvivorlaw.com) and I am curious as to what has been happening since June 18, 2011. We'd love to hear more!

Topeka, Kansas Decriminalizes Domestic Violence

Reblogged from Wicked Women Magazine:

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Yes, really.  Domestic violence is no longer a crime in the city of Topeka.  And – like so many bizarre and dangerous decisions being made around the country these days – it’s because of the budget.

Topeka’s city council found itself unable to come up with the money to prosecute those charged with domestic violence, a budget shortfall of about $1 million for the upcoming year. 

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Dani - I can't agree more! It is a huge difference. I know that a group of us got mad and furious from a local Survivor Voices group and through the Domestic Violence Voices (found on fb) supported and challenged this through a petition through change.com. I'm not sure of the final income though, are you? Is it still decriminalized, or did the DA finally give in and buckled down on these cases? I'm currently working on a National DV Survivor Law Project (https://www.dvsurvivorlaw.com) and would love to know if you have an update on this. :)

2012 National Conference on Health and Domestic Violence

Reblogged from In The News...:

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Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women – more than car accidents, muggings, and rape combined. And studies suggest that up to ten (10) million children witness some form of domestic abuse annually. Everyone has a right to be safe.

Research data indicates that when different members of the community coordinated their efforts to protect battered women and hold batterers accountable, these efforts were more successful.

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Somehow, the following statement reminds me of Hilliary Clinton as she stated "It takes a village,...[to raise a child]": Research data indicates that when different members of the community coordinated their efforts to protect battered women and hold batterers accountable, these efforts were more successful. Coordination helps to ensure that the system works faster and better for victims, that victims are protected and receive the services they need, and that batterers are held accountable and cease their abusive behavior. It comes at no surprise that we have a National Conference on Health and Domestic Violence. They are right though, with more concerted efforts from the community, there can be a decrease of domestic violence, especially when the abusers are held accountable. We have been trying to bring about this awareness for decades. I'm not sure that with the medical community alone's participation in looking after victims and trying to protect them, but it is a HUGE start. We get on a better page with all medical community, along with law enforcement and courts, etc. and other members of the community, we could actually resolve domestic violence for good. At least, it is always our hope and dreams!

The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey

Reblogged from In The News...:

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched the first findings from The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) on December 14th, 2011 and is available online. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) is an on­going, nationally representative survey that assesses experiences of sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence among adult women and men in the United States.

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If you haven't read the statistics yet, these can be interesting indicators of trends -- positive and negative...

Survivor Speaks: Ohio’s Dating Violence Protection Bill

A survivor speaks out about teen dating violence in the famous TedTalks series.

March 9th 2010
Ohio Senate Passes Dating Violence Protection Bill
Ohio Senators have unanimously passed a House bill that would allow juvenile courts to issue protection orders for minors in dating relationships.

The Ohio House of Representatives is expected to concur Wednesday. The legislation would then go to Gov. Ted Strickland, who is expected to sign it.

The bill was inspired in part by the plight of Cleveland teen Johanna Orozco, who was shot in the face by her 17-year-old ex-boyfriend in 2007 has had numerous operations. Orozco wanted to get a protection order, but Ohio juvenile courts cannot issue them against minors.

An advocacy group said in a national survey last year that only a handful of states have laws enabling minors the same protection order rights as adults.

This was Ohio in 2010! It’ll be interesting to follow-up with them to see how effective the law has changed since then.


“Teen Dating Violence: What do we really know?”

As we look at the cute couples in High School you would never think that 1 and 5 teens that have been in a serious relationship report being hit, slapped or pushed by a partner.  This is a subject that we don’t talk about over coffee or on lunch break.  Most of all this wouldn’t be a subject an abused teen would speak with their parents about.  1 in 3 girls who have been in a serious relationship say they’ve been concerned about being physically hurt by their partner.  To change these astounding numbers we have to speak up and speak out about Teen Dating Violence.  No matter what parents of the victims have to be supportive no matter the frustrations.  Here are some of the signs to look for:

  • Falling or failing grades
  • Increased instances of indecision, stops giving her own opinion
  • Changes in mood or personality
  • Use of drugs/alcohol, not just experimentation
  • Emotional outburst, not just mood swings
  • Depression
  • Will become isolated, insist on more privacy
  • Physical signs of injury cuts, bruises, etc.
  • Makes excuses for the abusers behavior
  • Begins to put herself/himself down.

SIGNS OF ABUSE FROM THE ABUSER

  • Is extremely jealous, hypersensitive and controlling
  • Verbally abusive and threatens violence
  • Has unpredictable mood swings, with instances of explosive anger
  • Uses drugs and alcohol not just experimentation
  • Isolates their partner from friends and family
  • Uses force during an argument, physical and emotional
  • Believes in rigid sex roles women are a possession
  • Blames others for his problems or feelings
  • Has a history of abusive relationships.

Stay open with your teen and be honest about Teen Dating Violence.  Be Honest about how common it really is and keep the lines of communication open with who they are dating.  Always remember you are not your child’s best friend you are their parent.  Support and understanding is the biggest thing that you can give your child with dating and teen dating violence.  Speak up and Speak out against violence and you can involve your teen too in this process.  Getting your child involved will also teach him or her that it isn’t the right relationship to be a part of.  These tools should help keep you more educated and your teen safer.  Remember there is NO EXCUSE FOR ABUSE.


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